Tag Archives: St Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila at 500

Teresa of AvilaSaint Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, turns 500 today. Teresa is one of the most remarkable women of the Church who stood up to the bankruptcy of many churchmen in order to follow the command of the Savior “to rebuild my Church.” She was not only brilliant thinker and teacher, a reformer but she was an intense lover of Jesus. And from this posture, she is able to touch souls.

Several quotes come to mind:

“ Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”

“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”

“There’s a time for partridge and a time for penance.”

“God has been very good to me, for I never dwell upon anything wrong which a person has done, so as to remember it afterwards. If I do remember it, I always see some other virtue in that person.”

“Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.

Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world.”

“A sad nun is a bad nun,” Teresa said. “I am more afraid of one unhappy sister than a crowd of evil spirits….What would happen if we hid what little sense of humor we had? Let each of us humbly use this to cheer others.”

“Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.”

“Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee:
All thing pass;
God never changes.

Patience attains
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.”

Carmelite Spirituality attractive in Asia

Sts. John of the Cross and Teresa of AvilaI’ve been spying on what the Discalced Carmelites are doing to honor a great figure as Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila) for the Fifth Centenary of her birth. Last evening I read a brief piece on Pope John Paul’s “Carmelite leanings” with his intense emphasis on love. The writer of the essay argued John Paul was captivated by the work and witness of Teresa and John of the Cross. In recent years I have been interested in the Carmelite approach to the spiritual life primarily because I’ve seen others radically changed by it. I have to admit, though, my soul is not Carmelite at the level of radical substance yet I am draw to what Teresa and John had to say.

The Discalced Carmelites report that in Asia interest in Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross is increasing.  A recent title at a conference reveals interest in Asia, “A dialogue between the spiritualities of Ignatius of Loyola and of John of the Cross.”

So, it is reported that hundreds of registrants in Asia are participating in courses designed to introduce inquirers of Carmelite spirituality through the eyes of two great Carmelite saints; there’s been collaboration even with the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan have sponsored similar Teresian courses. More work is scheduled for Israel later in 2014.

Carmel and Pope Francis

Those of us who are devoted to the spiritual maternity of Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila) will note that her method of teaching us to pray begins by engaging in an inner dialogue with Jesus Christ, “whom we know loves us,” in an attitude of silence and listening. These days the Carmelites of the Discalced tradition are preparing themselves (and the rest of us) for the Fifth Centenary of the Birth of Saint Teresa of Jesus.

The Carmelites a working to create and disseminate songs of harmony, simplicity, and beauty, will aid in praying in the style and thought of Teresa: the point is to pray with the words and spirituality of Saint Teresa so that the persons will be led to contemplate the beauty of the Lord.  Here the friars are giving “loving attention” to the role of musical harmony for prayer.

The Superior General of the Discalced Carmelites Father Saverio Cannistrà recently met the Holy Father at morning Mass and gave him the latest biography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux written by Bishop Guy Gaucher, OCD. It is known that that Pope Francis is follows the way of Saint Thérèse.

Saint Teresa of Jesus

Santa TeresaFor the liturgical memorial for Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila) the Church puts on our lips for the entrance antiphon the famous line from Psalm 42: Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God; my soul is thirsting for God, the living God.

One of my favorite saints is Teresa of Avila. Her humanity, humor and intense desire to be a friend of God is attractive. Real holiness attracts. She gives good example of what it means to be attentive to the interior life. Hence, today’s gospel pericope nicely coheres with the Teresa’s remembrance: don’t pay more attention to exterior than to the interior things. The spiritually immature Christians worry more about the outside of the cup than the inside. Formalism will not lead to fruitfulness and friendship with God. The spiritually mature Christian is truly thirsting, a longing for the Divine.

Saint Teresa shows how not to be enslaved by a dysfunctional Christianity but that we are made for joy, for Eternal Life, in communion with God.

Saint Teresa of Avila

Avila Let nothing disturb.jpg

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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